By the Editorial Board
Welcome back, beautiful Canisius! The sun has been shining down on us these last couple of days, and we don’t know about you, but The Griffin has a great feeling about this upcoming year. After all, it’s not snowing yet, there are blue skies overhead, the freshmen are enthusiastic, and so many programs and professors are being cut. Wait… what was that last one?
You heard right, dear readers. There are numerous major and minor programs being phased out, with even more professors being forced into retirement. While this information is not being advertised by the administration (because why would they ever advertise something like that?), the professors who have been affected have not been silent about the predicament. It’s important to note that without the information from them, the student body would be completely without information regarding the various downsizing of different departments.
Some departments, such as art history, anthropology, and physics, are being downsized so violently this year that current majors will have to earn their needed credits from classes given through other departments. Thankfully, Canisius is reportedly being flexible on which classes can be taken for comparable credits.
Similarly, professors who have been at Canisius for a multitude a years have reportedly been offered a comfy retirement deal. This tactic is seemingly a way for Canisius to save money by not having to pay the higher salaries of faculty members who have been around for the longest amount of time. Also, the loss of the professors opens up positions in their respective departments that don’t necessarily have to be filled again, furthering the College’s savings.
Of course, these reductions beg the question: are these measures going to help or hurt Canisius in the long run?
From a purely fiscal standpoint, all of these cuts are a totally valid way of rightsizing the faculty population to meet the needs of a shrinking student body. With freshman enrollment going down every year, the need for more faculty members isn’t as high, so having less people on the school’s payroll just makes sense. Furthermore, if the number of students engaging in a certain major is low enough, the cost of keeping that major program open eventually outweighs the benefit of having a few select students coming to Canisius specifically for that program (i.e. physics). Financially, these decisions are sound.
However, The Griffin is also interested in how these changes will affect campus climate and student engagement.
By the nature of the retirement plan, the professors being kindly asked to step down have the most experience teaching out of everyone in their departments. While experience doesn’t necessarily correlate directly to effectiveness, it’s certainly a big factor; if you know what you’re doing, you’re naturally going to be better at it. Sadly, this means that some of the most effective and engaging professors from a variety of departments will all be leaving at once. Of course, their departments will probably not fall apart in their absences, but class layout and structure will definitely take a hit. With great professors stepping down, future Griffs will miss out; that’s for sure.
On top of that, students currently in the majors and minors that are being cut are being robbed of classes and experiences that they were promised when they came to Canisius. If they’re far along enough in the major, they’ll still be able to graduate from the program through alternate courses, but what about the 400-level courses they were looking forward to taking since their freshman year? Even though the degree will be the same, the experience inherently will not be.
While the effects of these decisions won’t be apparent for a few years until the rightsizing is complete, these initial changes are already negatively affecting the academic experiences of individuals in certain programs. While bigger isn’t necessarily better, transitioning to an even smaller college is going to inevitably take a toll on Canisius. Let’s just hope that the transition is worth it.